The Boston Shaker and Cobbler shaker are two of the most common types of shakers available. The Boston Shaker consists of a stainless steel tin and a pint-sized glass (also known as a 2-piece shaker) whilst the Cobbler Shaker consists of the base, built-in strainer and lid (also known as a 3-piece shaker).
The Boston Shaker tends to have a larger volume than that of most Cobbler Shakers and you will need a hawthorn strainer to place inside the stainless steel tin to strain out ice shards, pips and pulp from your cocktails. A Boston shaker commonly comes with a Boston Glass (as pictured) which has the advantage of seeing the ingredients as you work with them. Most professional bartenders prefer to use weighted shaker tins as they reach temperature quickly and reduce dilution. They are also lighter which reduces fatigue – sounds crazy but when you make hundreds of cocktails a night in a busy environment, it makes a difference!
The Cobbler Shaker (also known as a 3-piece cocktail shaker) has the convenience of a built-in strainer. Most beginners have this type of shaker sitting in their cupboard but they are also very common amongst Japanese bartenders. Some cobbler shakers can be sticky when separating but this can be fixed by running them under warm water.
Professional bartenders will usually choose a Boston Shaker set due to their larger capacity as well as being faster and more efficient to work with behind a busy bar. I would recommend a Cobbler Shaker for home use as they are easy to use and you generally won’t need to make a large volume of cocktails.
Want a more in-depth comparison of cocktail shakers? Check out Cocktail Shakers 101.
Where to buy cocktail shakers?
(disclaimer: this is my own store)
UPDATE: You can also find a curated selection of bar equipment right here on Steve the Bartender!
Cobbler (3-piece) Shakers